Canadian dollar gains ground as equity markets stabilize

* Canadian dollar strengthens 0.3% against the greenback

* Loonie trades in a range of 1.2476 to 1.2516

* Price of U.S. oil falls 0.2%

* Canadian bond yields ease across a flatter curve

TORONTO, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as equity markets clawed back some of this week's losses and investors weighed prospects of the Bank of Canada hiking interest rates next week.

U.S. stock futures rose on a string of strong earnings, a day after the tech-heavy Nasdaq plunged into correction territory.

Canada is a major producer of commodities, including oil, so the loonie tends to be sensitive to investor sentiment.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices were down 0.2% at $86.75 a barrel on indications of rising U.S. stocks and as investors took profits after a recent price rally.

The Canadian dollar CAD= was trading 0.3% higher at 1.2479 to the greenback, or 80.13 U.S. cents, after trading in a range of 1.2476 to 1.2516.

Among G10 currencies, only the Australian dollar AUD= , another commodity-linked currency, notched a bigger gain.

A report from payroll services provider ADP showed that Canada added 19,200 jobs in December, the fifth straight month of gains

Canadian retail sales data, due on Friday, could offer more clues on the strength of the domestic economy.

Despite the prospect of slower economic growth due to the spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, investors have raised bets that the Bank of Canada will hike interest rates at the Jan. 26 announcement. It would be the first hike since October 2018.

Canadian government bond yields were lower across a flatter curve. The 10-year CA10YT=RR eased 3 basis points to 1.851%, after touching on Wednesday its highest intraday level since March 2019 at 1.905%.
Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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